March 4, 2011 / 11:28 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 3-Low U.S. patient visits hurt CML's results, shrs fall

* Q4 loss/shr C$0.36 vs C$0.20 last year

* Q4 rev falls 7 pct to C$118.5 mln

* U.S. segment rev down 30 pct to C$23.7 mln

* Sees challenges to continue in U.S. imaging market

* Shares fall as much as 11 percent (Adds share movement in 5th bullet, paragraph 1, 4)

BANGALORE, March 4 (Reuters) - CML Healthcare Inc , which specializes in medical imaging and laboratory testing services, posted a wider quarterly loss, as it continues to grapple with lower patient visits at its U.S. clinics, sending its shares down 11 percent.

The company, which provides services like MRI, CT scan, ultrasound and mammography, said there has been a decline in physicians’ office visits and medical imaging referrals as the U.S. economic downturn has led to high unemployment and the loss of employer-funded health benefits.

Losing insurance coverage when getting laid off work and a rise in insurance premiums also led to a reduction in expensive tests.

The company’s shares, which have lost about 4 percent in value since it reported results in November, fell as much as 11 percent to a nine-month low of C$10.07 on Friday and were among the top percentage losers on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

CML’s nearly three-year-old U.S. segment, which accounted for about 23 percent of its 2010 revenue, has been a concern due to soft volumes.

“The imaging market in the U.S. continues to be challenging,” Chief Executive Paul Bristow said in a statement, adding that the volumes in the segment have, however, stabilized in the fourth quarter relative to the third quarter.

However, CML’s Canadian business, which continues to be “very stable” and accounts for about 94 percent of EBITDA, generates the cash flow necessary to support dividend, he said.

For the fourth quarter, the Mississauga, Ontario-based company posted a net loss of C$32.4 million, or 36 Canadian cents a unit, compared with a loss of C$17.6 million, or 20 Canadian cents a unit, a year ago.

Total revenue fell 7 percent to C$118.5 million. Revenue from its U.S segment fell 30 percent to C$23.7 million, while Canada segment revenue rose 3 percent to C$94.5 million.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 25 Canadian cents per unit, on revenue of C$120.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. (Reporting by Arnika Thakur in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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